Volume 60 1951 > Volume 60, No. 2 + 3 > Meeting of Maori and European cultures and its effects upon the unorganized games of Maori children, by Brian Sutton-Smith, p 92-107
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Volume 60, Nos. 2 and 3 June and Sept., 1951

Published Quarterly by the Polynesian Society, Wellington, N.Z.

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(Authors alone are responsible for their respective statements)

  • NIKUMARORO. By P. B. Laxton 134
  • HE WAKA IHO (an umblical cord container). By Geo. Graham 160
  • ROGER DUFF, M.A., D.Sc. 162
  • EXCAVATION OF GUA BUNGOH IN SOUTH-WEST SARAWAK. By Tom Harrisson and M. W. F. Tweedie 164
  • NATIVE USE OF FISH IN HAWAII. By Margaret Titcombe, with the collaboration of Mary Kawena Pukui 1-96

Copyright of all texts is reserved. No article may be reprinted wholly or in part without permission from the Society.


Agent for Australia: Angus & Robertson, 89 Castlereagh St., Sydney.

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IN the past two years I have been investigating the psychological and historical significance of the unorganized (traditional) games of New Zealand Pakeha children. In the course of my investigations I have had cause to study the effects of Maori children's unorganized games upon the unorganized games of Pakeha children and vice versa. The information that I have received makes it clear that, despite the immense value of Elsdon Best's Games and Pastimes of the Maori, there is still a great deal of research to be carried out in this field. As my own study has not been directly concerned with the games of the Maori, and as I am not myself an expert in Maori lore, it is with some diffidence that I make any report whatsoever. I do so, however, in the hope that it will stimulate others, more expert than myself, to record similar data.

In general it can be said that the history of nineteenth century Maori-European conflict of cultures was, in effect, the history of the gradual submergence of Maori culture. To this submergence the disruptive effects of successive Maori wars, the repressive attitudes of the missionaries, the outlook of Europeans, and the policy of Government officials, all contributed. 1 In this article only those Maori children's games which have survived this process of cultural disintegration, are considered. Further, only those games are considered which have been retained spontaneously by children. This means that the organized games and pastimes - 94 which were encouraged by the Maoris themselves, especially after the rise of the Young Maori Party in the 1890's, and which were encouraged by the Education Department after 1930, are not considered. 2 Again, those games encouraged by the Physical Education Department after 1939 are only considered if they are still played spontaneously by Maori children. 3 My information is derived from correspondence and interviews with physical education specialists and others who have been educated, or have taught, in Maori schools; the information is derived also from interviews with members of the Maori Club at Ardmore Teachers' College in 1950. 4

These sources indicate that the following games are still played by Maori children in some areas: Hand games, knucklebones, stilts, whip tops, string games. In addition there are many other games of a more informal nature which are still played. These include: Vine-swinging, hunting and fishing, sliding and sledging, throwing and skipping stones and pipi shells, slings, juggling, spears, skipping, sailing flax canoes, penny doctors, putuputu, hotaka, head-standing and acrobatics, swimming, mock-fights and racing. It is of some interest that hand games, string games, whip tops, stilts and knucklebones should be the formal games most generally retained by Maori children. All these games had their counterparts in the unorganized play of Pakeha - 95 children. The Europeans brought to New Zealand their own versions of all these five games. (The European hand games are known as stone, paper and scissors.) With a few possible exceptions all the above-mentioned informal games also had their counterparts in the European tradition.

The persistence of these particular Maori games suggests that the existence of the parallel games in the European culture acted as a permissive factor on the same games in the Maori culture; that the Maori children were implicitly encouraged to continue with these particular games in preference to others, because these particular games were intelligible to the European mode of life. Perhaps missionaries and others, who are said to have done such damage to Maori pastimes, even looked with a more lenient eye upon pastimes that they recognized as the pastimes of “civilised,” and not just “heathen” children. There may be other reasons why these particular games have persisted. The hand games, for example, require no apparatus and can be played at any odd moment; they may have been carried on because of their inconspicuous nature and their convenience. They are reported as still being played by men and women at odd shearing sheds in the East Coast area. But, if there are any other reasons why hand games and the other games mentioned above have been carried on, and all the other original spontaneous Maori children's games not carried on, then these reasons are not known. It is certainly true that there are not any comparable number of distinctively Maori pastimes which have survived and which do not have their counterparts in the European tradition. In fact no evidence was received of any such Maori games which had survived and which were still of widespread importance.

It can be assumed, therefore, that with all the above-mentioned games, the respective traditions, European and Maori, served to confirm and re-emphasize each other. It is probable that in many cases the traditions of the two cultures combined so that features of both were preserved in the ultimate product. The most interesting example of the way in which this has happened is provided by the case of knucklebones. The fusion of Maori and European knucklebones in fact, is of some anthropological significance. It will therefore be reported in detail.

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The claim has been made that knucklebones was introduced to the Maoris by the early whalers. 5 No evidence, however, has been provided to support this claim. All the information to hand suggests, on the contrary, that knucklebones was separately a part of both the European and the Maori traditions. It is known, for example, that knucklebones was an extremely ancient game; that it was played throughout the ancient world; and played throughout the Pacific area in pre-European times. 6 This information suggests that the European settlers brought their own tradition of knucklebones to New Zealand, and that the Maoris already had one of their own before those settlers arrived in New Zealand.

It is possible to classify all the types and varieties of Maori and Pakeha knucklebones into four main categories. Each of these categories refers to a broad type of movement which includes many subsidiary movements of that type. No description is given here of the subsidiary movements as they are irrelevant to the purpose at hand. Details of some of these subsidiary types can be acquired from the references given in the footnotes. All types of knucklebone games include the fundamental movement of throwing a knucklebone up into the air with the right hand and catching it with the same hand. While this is being done, that is while this knucklebone is still in mid-air, the four types of movements that are possible are: (a) catching the thrown knucklebone(s) on the back of the right hand when it falls; (b) arranging other knucklebones on the ground in various formations such as rows, circles, squares and diamonds with the right hand and then catching the knucklebone which has been previously thrown up with the same hand; (c) picking up other knucklebones off the ground with the right hand and then catching the thrown knucklebone; (d) moving knucklebones with the right hand on the ground, in, over and about the left hand and then catching the thrown knucklebone with the right hand.

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An examination of the English and Maori games which have been recorded and which I have collected, suggests that where knucklebones was played in its most complete traditional form the European game often included all the four movements outlined above and the Maori game only the first three types. I have collected many early New Zealand reports of European knucklebones which contain all the four types and were played in areas in which there was no great contact with the Maori. In addition, reports of knucklebones as played in England contain references to all the four types. 7 On the other hand there are reports of early Maori knucklebones which do not contain references to to the fourth type of movement. It can be reasonably certain that the Maoris playing the games contained in these reports were uninfluenced by the European tradition of play. 8 It is worthy of note also that in all the examples of knucklebones from other Polynesian islands which are mentioned by Elsdon Best, there is no reference to the fourth movement. It should, however, be mentioned in passing, that in all the reports of Maori knucklebones the movements of the first three types are developed to a far more advanced stage than are the same movements in the reports of European knucklebones which I have collected in this country. Some Maori games, for example, include juggling amongst the movements of (b) above.

More recent reports of Maori games also suggest that Maori knucklebones originally lacked the fourth type of movement. For example, two recent articles which record Maori knucklebones include movements of the fourth type, but these movements of the fourth type, unlike the movements of the other types in these games, are known by Pakeha terms, not by Maori terms. 9 Obviously it is peculiar that these Maori names should not contain Maori terms for this fourth movement when they do contain Maori terms for the other movements.

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In order to discover whether English names are generally given by Maoris to the movements of this fourth type when they are included in their games, I collected descriptions of knucklebones from sixteen Maori students at Ardmore Teachers' Training College. Of these sixteen students only two had not played the game at all. These two students came from districts in North Auckland. Four students had played the game without the fourth type of movement. One of these students came from Parapara (North Auckland); one from Okahukura (King Country); and the other two from isolated villages in the Bay of Plenty area, namely Ruatoki and Omarumutu. The other ten students had all played a game of knucklebones (generally under the name of huripapa) which included the fourth movement. Of these ten students, eight students used only English terms for the fourth movements although using Maori terms for the other types of movements. The English terms they used were: “Hurdles,” “Stealing Eggs,” “Eggs in the Basket,” “Piano.” All these terms are familiar in English records of knucklebones. 10 These eight students came from the East Coast area, from Nuhaka, Whangaparoa, Whakatane, Horoera, Tekaraka, Rangitukia, Mokai, Manutahi. Two students had a Maori term for one of the movements in the fourth category of movements, but English terms for all the rest of the movements in that category. Thus “Stealing Eggs” was called alternatively by its Maori name tahae heki. These two students came from Tikitiki and Whakaangiangi.

When Elsdon Best made his records of knucklebones in the East Coast he did not record any of these type four movements. Yet they are there today, but under English, not Maori names. This certainly suggests that the Maoris have borrowed the type four movement from the Europeans; that they have assimilated into their own knucklebone tradition a type of Pakeha cultural phenomena of a nature analagous to their own. It is probable that they have been able to do this because the Maori tradition of knucklebones was more vigorous than the European tradition. The vigour of the Maori tradition would be responsible both for the assimilation of the distinctive European type of movement - 99 and for the fact that knucklebones are still played today much more frequently in Maori schools than in European schools. Fourteen of the above sixteen Maoris had played the game at school, whereas the game was well known in only three European schools (Hokitika, Collingwood, Kaiata) out of the thirty-two I visited in various parts of New Zealand. And even at these three schools it was seldom played by the children at school. It was a home game rather than a school game.

There follows an account of the games which have been enumerated above. This is followed in turn by an account of the games which are played today in Maori schools, but which are adaptations of games from the European tradition.

The names of some of the hand games that are reported as being still played by Native school children today are as follow: 11 Hei Tama, Homai (Whakaropi); Matemate ra, Hipi Toi, Ropi, Toro Piko (Mokai, Rotorua); Homai, Ropi, Kumute (Materawa); Hei Tamatutama (Nuhaka); Hei Tama, Whakaropi (Horoera); Hei Tama, Whakaropi, Ropi, Mate ra, Hipitoetoe, Toropiko (Rangitukia); Hipitoitoi with thumbs, Toro Piko, Whakaropiropiro, Hei Tama, E Ropi (Tikitiki); Whakaropiropiro, Hei Tama, Horo Piko (Omarumutu); Homai, Tu Tama (Whangaparoa); Hipi Toi (Te Paroa). Of these games one area-organizer in Physical Education writes: “These games are often played in North Auckland Maori schools. I have never taught one in a Maori school nor have I met a teacher who has. Several teachers have confessed that when they have professed any interest in the hand game, the children have turned up with many varieties saying, ‘Dad told me,’ etc.”

String games reported are the following: 12 Diamonds 1, 2, 4 (Okahukura); Mouii, Wharekehua (Whakaangiangi); Whai, Whare Kehua (Tikitiki); Cup and Saucer, Diamonds 2, 3, 4, Waewae pikaokao, Wharekehua (Horoera); Cot, Mattress, Single and Double Diamond (Te Karaka); Whai wahine, Whai tane, Mouti Mourea, Waewae pikaokao, Diamonds 1, 2, 3, 7, 11, 13 (Rangitukia); Tane, - 100 Wahine, Diamonds 1 to 13, Canoe, Moti, One Diamond with loops, Cup and Saucer (Te Paroa); Bird's net, Bird's foot, Diamonds 1 to 7, Mouti-Mourea (Mokai); Mauii, Wahine, Tane, Cup and Saucer, Waewae Pikaokao, Wharekehua (Nuhaka). Other areas which have been reported as strong centres of Maori string games are Matauri Bay, Whakarewarewa and Kaitaia.

There are several reports of stilts. “We played ‘follow the leader’ games on stilts made out of wineberry tree or manuka.” (Huirau). “We had fights and races on stilts made out of manuka or old planks.” (Horoera).

Whip Tops made from pine cones or with manufactured tops are common in North Auckland and they are invariably propelled by cabbage tree whips.” “We shaped the hardwood into a top and then put a nail in at the point. A medium sized piece of flax was tied on a stick to make a whip. The top was spun by winding the flax around the tops. There were top fights.” (Okahukura). “We made tops from manuka and whips from cabbage trees.” (Waitaruke). “Tops from manuka and totara.” (Rangitukia). “Tops from hinehine.” (Tikitiki). “We played broad-jumping with tops, bowling another top over and jumping obstacles with them.” (Horoera).

Vine-Swinging of an informal nature is still common. “We used to swing on willow trees” (Te Paroa). “We had distance tests of vine-swinging as a method of qualifying for entrance to our gang” (Bay of Plenty). “This was a variation of the Maori game of swinging on a vine and flying into a river. A good vine hanging from a tree was selected. The player took a run back, flew through the air and let go. The place he landed was marked. This practice could almost be termed a long jump and some would be really long too. The aim was to gain speed on the run up, then really fly through the air holding the vine. The main ingredient after that was the courage to let go in order to land many yards further on. I can recall a number of injuries.” (Kaikohe).

Hunting filled a large part of our leisure time in summer. Eels and birds were the main victims. There was a variety of methods of catching both. Snares from flax were used to catch hawks or pheasants. We tied down a good springy stake of manuka, lancewood or tanekaha. - 101 The stake was stuck into the earth then bent over and secured by a piece of flax, to which was attached the bait. The bait for hawks was meat or fish; for pheasants a cob of corn. When the bait was moved a little it would release the flax and the stick would spring upright. At the end of the stick would be another piece of flax attached and laid on the ground about the flax in a loop. When the stick was released this loop was supposed to catch on to the bird's legs. The method was very successful with hawks, and sufficiently successful with pheasants for us to keep on trying. With smaller birds a kit or box was used. This was propped up at one end with a stick and seeds and crumbs were scattered under the box. The hunter lay concealed at a distance holding onto a string that was attached to the prop-stick. A little tug was supposed to drop the cover over the birds.” (Kaikohe).

“Wax-eyes were caught on an apparatus which consisted of two poles and a cross-bar of string. A decoy wax-eye was swung on the string cross-bar. The wax-eyes were attracted by the hunter who hid in the bush next to the cross-bar. By sucking inward that part of a corn leaf which is like cigarette paper he made whistling sounds like the squeak of the wax-eye. When the birds alighted on the cross-bar, they were knocked unconscious with a flick from a supple piece of manuka hardened in the fire.” (Huirau).

“In tidal rivers, when the tide is out the entry and exit holes of eels are clearly visible in the mudbanks. The method is simply that of putting a hand in each hole, feeling the eel inside and pulling it out. A grip with the middle finger over the top, and the second and fourth fingers underneath is a firm one. Very large numbers can be caught in a very short time. Where holes are very large, discretion is the better part of valour. The most suitable costume for this game is the nude and several of us would spend an hour or two roaming the tidal banks in the nude pulling out eels. We have met parties much older than ourselves similarly clad. Mud banks can be very messy. In swamps a piece of plain wire attached to a stout stick is all that is required. By frequent poking eels can be felt by the quivering of the stick. The eel is then pulled out as before. In soft muddy places they can be felt with the feet. In rivers, night time is the best. A torch made from sacking or the stalks of flax - 102 flowers provides a suitable light. A gaff is needed to pull out those attracted to the light.” (Kaikohe). “We used a lighted tyre to attract the eels.” (East Coast). “We fished eels with a rod. A bait of worms was strung on cabbage tree leaves and wiwi was used as a hook.” (Nuhaka).

Crab fishing was done at night. A light was used to attract the crabs and they were hooked out with a piece of wire turned up at one end.” (Whangaparoa). “We dived for paua, sea-eggs and crayfish. Crayfish pots (called pouraka) were set at night. Crowds of families would go down at the early morning tide and fish them out. We would compete to see how many sea-eggs we could bring up at one time. This was done in shallow water. We felt around with our feet first then dived to bring them up. The same was done with crayfish. We felt round for their holes with our feet, then dived to bring them up. The sea-eggs could be eaten raw. Some old folks would eat the whole thing.” (Horoera).

Putuputu is played by cutting out from tin a piece the shape of a horseshoe. A hole is made in the tin through which a piece of string is threaded about a yard long. At the other end of the string is a knot. This knot is held between the toes. Each player then has his putuputu dragging behind and the idea is to give chase and to tramp on the other fellow's putuputu.” (Kaikohe). The same game is mentioned as having been played with flax threaded through the holes in shells (Omarumutu, Opotiki). Although it is not mentioned by Elsdon Best it is probably a traditional Maori game. An informant from Waitaruke, North Auckland, speaks of threading string through the holes in paua shells and walking on them like imitation horses. The two games may have had the same origin.

Hotaka consists of the main stalk of a nikau frond. This is almost severed at about four inches from the thick end and is so cut that the nearly severed piece hangs by the outer bark of the frond. The heel plate of a working shoe, which is shaped like a small horseshoe, is attached to the swinging end of the frond. This toy makes a very good imitation of a horse hoof in the sand or dust and smaller children get a lot of fun playing horses with it.” (Kaikohe). In most reports of this game, which appears to be widespread, the children use the frond as a horse hoof without - 103 attaching any shoe-plate; in others the children use flax. The flax-hoof (Okahukura, Omarumutu) or flax-capper (Te Paroa, Nuhaka) is made by cutting a piece of flax leaf near the hoof. The stalk is cut longitudinally and then bent double. Children then run along making a cracking sound like the hooves of a horse.

There is report of children making slippers out of giant kelp (Horoera).

Children throw pipi shells in the air to make them glide (Te Paroa, Huirau). They skip flat stones and the flakes of the paper rock (Horoera).

There is mention of slings in which an arrow lying on the ground is slung a distance by the aid of a string looped over a notch by the arrow head. The string is attached to a stick and the stick is flicked (Huirau). There is report of fern root slings which are used to throw stalks of the pampas grass (called kakaho). There are competitions in distance throwing (Horoera). “A piece of flax slit down the seam can be shot into the air when the seam is pulled quickly through the fingers. We aimed at each other and had distance competitions.” (Ohakune).

Natural foods eaten are tawa berries, miro berries, totara berries, koramu berries and the fibre of the lace bark (Huirau). “We chewed supplejack and the flower of the kia kia.” (Horera).

A stick game which is mentioned as having been played spontaneously is tititorea (Ruatoki).

Mud-slides were very unpopular with parents, but very popular with the children in the winter. All that is required is a grassy slope. Buckets of water are poured down this slide. After a time a very slippery surface can be obtained. Skill is required to negotiate the slide at speed while remaining standing on two feet. A spill is rewarded by a patch of mud on the seat of the pants.” (Kaikohe). Most of the sliding that is reported is done on the leaves of cabbage tree or on nikau fronds (Ruatoki) which are used as sledges (Omarumutu, Rangitukia).

Flax boats are also well known. 13 These are made out of the pointed piece at the end of the flax leaf. The flax rib is the bottom of the boat. The ends of the two sides of the - 104 flax are turned round each other and a stick is pushed through to hold them in place. Cross-bar sticks are placed in the middle of the boat to keep the sides apart. A flax sail—another similar piece of flax—can be slid under these cross-bars, brought over the top and fastened by its point to the stern of the boat (Ruatoki). Boats are also made out of the dry flax sticks. These sticks are hollowed out and shaped like a boat. Smaller sticks can be used for outriggers and masts can be put in for the paper sails. A white pipi shell is put in for a keel (Russell).

Penny Doctor beetles, also known as “Butcher Bats” is a game widely reported by Wellington Training College students as being played in many parts of the North Island. In this game straws moistened by spittle are pushed down the hole of the appropriate beetle. The beetle seizes the end of the straw. When the player feels the straw moving he or she flicks out the beetle. The player who can catch the most beetles wins the game.

It is worth noting that I received no reports of kites, hoops or darts. Yet these are all games which had their European and Maori counterparts. It is probable that they have faded in Maori schools for the same reason that they have faded in European schools, although they may have both been confirmed and accentuated in earlier years; that is, before road traffic and organized sports became of any great importance, say, prior to 1910.

The introduced games which appear to have become of some importance in Maori schools are: marbles, smoking, ball-bouncing, stagknife, bow and arrows, shanghais, popguns, windmills and propellors, ball hop-scotch. Others which are also mentioned, but which do not seem to be so widespread, are: Poka, buttons, tractors, rotten egg, Toi and Whatonga, rollers, whistles, sending a message. The popularity of marbles and stagknife may perhaps be explained by the fact that the Maoris have always had more pastimes involving manual dexterity than the Europeans. 14 It is worth noting that the Maoris often fire their marbles in the “Mollybar” fashion, namely, off a straight middle finger which is held in two fingers of the other hand and then catapaulted. It is of interest also that while marbles - 105 faded in many European schools during the war because there were no supplies, the supply was supplemented in many Maori schools from melted down gramophone records which were rolled into a ball shape.

Poka is a game played with a ball and four holes in the ground (Kaikohe). It is an adaption of the marble game of “Holey” which is still to be found among the mining settlements north of Westport in the South Island. Buttons (Kaikohe) is an adaptation of the old Scottish marble game “leggings-out” or “knock-backs.” Rotten-egg (Omarumutu, Opotiki, Huirau, Ruawera) is the game of egg cap or egg cup which is still played at Alexandra in Otago. 15 Toi and Whatonga which is reported from Nuhaka, Tikitiki and Whakaangiangi is said to be a game which is similar to draughts but played on an eight-pointed star scratched in the sand. It is said by these informants to have died out in their time (within the last ten years). The shape of the diagram and the fact that the game is not mentioned by Best, suggests it may be nothing but an adaption of Chinese checkers. Sending a message, which is played in a circle formation, and in which the message is conveyed by a squeeze of the hand, may be an adaption of the well known English parlour game of slip the button (Mataraua).

It was noticeable in all reports that there were a large number of typically rural pursuits mentioned. This was not unusual as a large number of Maori settlements are still of a predominantly rural nature. There seemed also to be more attention to games starring war parties. For example: “There were many varieties of war parties. Our weapon consisted of a tanekaha stick about two feet long—any supple and springy wood would do—and a ball of soft clay on the end. The stick was bent back and the ball of clay let fly. We became very accurate with these. Hits were really hits! One boy had an eye put out. But the game was not encouraged. Wet clay was not very suitable for carrying round in the pocket and the hits were severe.” (Kaikohe). “One of our gang specialties was the fern fight. Two gangs stood off at about twenty yards and hit off the tops of the yellow shoots of the bracken fern with sticks. The fern - 106 tops whizzed around like spears.” (Huirau). “We all used to ride to school with our bows and arrows. We would have bow and arrow gang fights on horseback. Some boys were able to stand on their horses' backs and fire the bows.” (Horoera). “We had two teams at war with fern spears. Each player had about ten spears and a shield of wood or tin. Any player being hit must drop out. We also divided up into teams for sword fights with manuka sticks.” (Ruatoki).

These Maori war party games may be simply a parallel for the European children's cowboy and Indians. Both may be stimulated also by the influence of the films and literature. On the other hand this type of Maori play may be an expression of something peculiar to Maori culture. The Beagleholes, for example, have pointed out that the Maoris tend to foster inter-tribal competitiveness as one of the means of supporting the “basic character structure of Maori culture.” 16 If this is the case, the children's play would naturally reflect this spirit of inter-group competitiveness, particularly in the terms in which that competitiveness was originally expressed, namely, in terms of war parties.

The above article has dealt almost entirely with the effects of the European tradition of games upon the games of Maori children. The meeting of cultures has not, however, been entirely one-sided. There are occasional reports of European children playing at Maori games such as humming tops and team whip tops. And also many reports of white children building raupo huts and sledging on cabbage tree leaves. It can be assumed that the Maori games which were the same as the European games would confirm the European children in the play of those games.

In conclusion it can be said that in the new cultural environment provided by the meeting of these two cultures, there has been a tendency for the unique pastimes of the submerged culture to be cancelled out, and for the pastimes which both cultures shared to be strengthened. But this tendency has been affected by yet another influence which has been stronger than the re-emphasis given by each culture to the analagous traits in the other. This other influence has - 107 been the influence of organized sport which has tended to cancel out all the minor games of both cultures irrespective of their nature. 17

1   See for example: Miller, H., New Zealand, p. 13; Beaglehole, J. C., New Zealand, A Short History, p. 18; Best, E., Games and Pastimes of the Maori, N.Z. Dom. Museum Bull., No. 8, p. 11; Butchers, A. G., Young New Zealand, p. 120; Polack, J. S., The Manners and Customs of the New Zealanders, Vol. 1, p. 1.
2   Sutherland, The Maori People Today, p. 40.
3   After 1939, physical educationalists, stimulated by their Director, Mr. P. A. Smithells, saw the educational value in certain Maori rhythmic games and sought to revive these for use in both Maori and Pakeha schools. Most of their work was done with hand games and stick games. They collected these games from Maoris who still knew how to play them (generally the older Maoris). The games were then recorded and introduced to teachers at refresher courses and in Training Colleges. Some attention, but not as much, was paid to string games and knucklebones. See: Education Gazette, April, 1941, p. 58, October, 1941, p. 201. Records of hand games and knucklebones are in the possession of the physical education authorities at Ardmore and Auckland Teachers' Training Colleges. See also Beard, D., The History of Physical Education in the Primary Schools of New Zealand, p. 136.
4   I am particularly indebted to Colin Spanhake and W. G. Johnston of North Auckland and Koro Dewes, Walker Kamata, and Whitu McGarve of the East Coast. I record their names out of gratitude only. I would not like them to be held responsible for any of the above interpretations of their reports. All the material quoted above refers to conditions within the last twenty years.
5   Education Gazette, December, 1942, p. 298.
6   See the Oxford Classical Dictionary, Astralgus, p. 110; Tylor, E. B., Primitive Culture, Vol. II, p. 81; Lovett, E., “The Ancient and Modern Games of Astragals,” Folklore, Vol. 12, Sept., 1901; Budd, E. G. and Newman, L. F., “Knucklebones—An Old Game of Skill,” Folklore, Vol. LII, 1941, p. 8.
7   Lovett, E., op. cit.; Budd, E. G. and Newman, L. F., op. cit.
8   Chapman, F. R., “Koruru, the Maori Games of Knucklebones,” Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. VII, 1898, p. 114; Best, E., op. cit., p. 29.
9   Education Gazette, “Jackstones,” Dec. 1st, 1942, p. 298; (Wanganui area) “Koruru, Knucklebones or Jackstones,” N.Z. Physical Education Soc. Bull., No. 4, 1947, p. 105 (Rotorua area).
10   Lovett, Budd and Newman, ibid.
11   The names of the district or village are placed in parenthesis. The hand names are recorded as they were given to me. It will be noted that there are often various forms of the same name. I have not attempted to select the correct one.
12   For details see Andersen, J. C., String Games.
13   See, for example, Morice, Stella, The Book of Wiremu, p. 16.
14   The American negroes also excel their white counterparts in games of manual dexterity.
15   See New Zealand Physical Education Society Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 4, 1947.
16   Beaglehole, E. and P., Some Modern Maoris, p. 145.
17   The incompleteness of the material I have recorded above will be only too apparent to the experienced eye. It is my hope, however, that the documentation of this material will stimulate others to record the spontaneous play life of Maori children today and yesterday in more detail and with more accuracy. Further material could be sent to me c/o The Polynesian Society, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.